The Japan's economic specificity largely resulted from its insular isolation. However, the 20th century revealed important potentialities that ensue for a disciplined society from its going over to a policy of opening to the external world. Of course, traditions of the East still always play an important role, but skilful utilization of world-wide economic accomplishments and the impressive export expansion led to Japan's becoming the second-ranking global economic power, with position to a large extent compensated for the insufficiency of political influence. At the same time, Japan adopted the majority of efficient economic tools of the greatest world power, the United States. However, a system combining the national specificity with the opening to the external world does not always prove effective. Hence, Japan is permanently missing a strategic model that might consistently utilize combined traditional and modern means of stimulating the economic development. In addition, the strong growth in wealth seriously reduced the country's international competitiveness because of increased labour costs. Thus, since a certain time already, its economy has remained stagnant, which however does not entail any visible signs of serious social discontent. In this situation, much will now depend on improvement in the international market, which can permit Japan a fuller utilization of the chances stemming from its surplus expansion on the foreign markets.
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